Two weeks ago, Burnt Orange Report endorsed Bank Transfer Day, and advocated for our readers to move your money from a corporate bank with greedy practices to a local credit union, preferably of the not-for-profit variety. We're pleased to report that Texans so far are doing just that, and we want to encourage all of you who haven't yet made the switch (or taken the first step of opening an account at a credit union) to do it.
Early numbers indicate that over 650,000 Americans joined credit unions since September 29, the day Bank of America announced a now-cancelled plan to charge debit customers a $5 monthly fee for the privilege of using their accounts. The American Independent reports that over 47,000 Texans have joined credit unions in the past month alone. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the amount of money Texans are shifting to credit unions and away from bad-guy banks.
From the Houston Chronicle:
In Texas, credit unions gained $326 million in new deposits from 47,000 new members during the month leading up to the so-called Bank Transfer Day. The Saturday event was orchestrated by an online campaign urging consumers to move their money from banks to the generally smaller credit unions.
That's what I'd call a great start to Texans investing their money with the good guys. If you haven't made the switch or opened an account with a credit union that fits your needs, read our Bank Transfer posts here for a how-to. Our BOR staff is divided between being happy members of A+ FCU, Velocity CU, and University FCU. Looking to switch? Ask around — I am sure if you pose the question on your Facebook or Twitter account, you'll get plenty of feedback and suggestions about local credit unions. It's great to see people doing research about their banking options and making an educated switch. The trade publication Credit Union Times reported that page views on the two largest credit union websites, CUNA and NAFCU, hit record highs during the lead-up to November 5th's official Bank Transfer Day.
Of course, the bad-guy banks aren't going down quietly, and for the time being, many employees are pushing back against customers who choose to close their accounts, which is really not cool. DailyKos has a round-up of stories about banks trying to stop customers from closing their accounts. Some of it frankly sounds like borderline emotional abuse. But what do you expect from a financial system built on treating its customers like they're the human batteries in The Matrix?
Overall, the Move Your Money effort has been one of the most broadly embraced actions to grow alongside the Occupy Wall Street movement. Switching to a credit union is a real and tangible way that the 99% can not only express dissatisfaction with our unfair economic system, but actively do something to help defund it, while supporting more equitable financial organizations to boot. Asking friends over dinner when everyone whips out their credit cards to split the bill where they bank has suddenly become less of a social taboo — I can't remember the last time that in-depth conversations about personal finance occurred so frequently. This is an important opportunity to engage people in discussions about what your bank choice means in this era of mass conglomeration and rampant anti-consumer efforts by the biggest banks.
So if you haven't moved your money yet, feel free to ask more questions about credit unions. If you're hesitant to close your current account, start simply by opening an account at a credit union to familiarize yourself with their services. Looking to make a major purchase such as a car or home? Talk to credit unions to see if they can offer you a better rate. Are you a campaign for office or do you have an officeholder account? Consider opening or switching to a credit union. It's a great way to make your money work for us and our shared values, rather than against us.
- Daily Kos: “Over 47,000 Texans joined credit unions in past month”
- Houston Chronicle: “Backlash on big banks helping credit unions”
- Credit Union National Association: “650,000 consumers join credit unions in October”
- BOR: “Burnt Orange Report Endorses Bank Transfer Day. Move Your Money!”
- BOR: “It's #BankTransferDay. Move Your Money!”